Friends University will honor several alumni as distinguished alumni during the university’s Homecoming Oct. 5. Friends University expanded its award categories this year to highlight achievements in R.I.S.E. Values, Fine Arts, and Christian Leadership and Service.
“We are so pleased to see the work these alumni are doing in their respective fields and communities,” said Dr. Amy Bragg Carey, president of Friends University. “Their work exemplifies our mission and values at Friends, which emphasize caring for others, engaging with our local communities and striving for excellence. We are honored to recognize them for their outstanding contributions.”
Distinguished Alumni for Outstanding Achievement in R.I.S.E Values (Respect, Inclusion, Service and Excellence)
Lt. Col. Erik Nott, M.D., United States Air Force
Lt. Col. Nott is a 1998 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He is currently assigned to the Air Force Institute of Technology while doing a one-year orthopedic surgery fellowship in foot and ankle surgery. His most recent assignment was to the United States Air Force Academy’s (USAFA) 10th Medical Group. During his assignment at the USAFA, he served as the head team physician for the USAFA Preparatory School as well as chief of surgery and chief of orthopedic surgery. Nott also undertook the responsibility of overseeing training of more than 60 physicians, nurses and medical technicians in disaster response and casualty care.
Nott’s first assignment was to the 1st Special Operations Support Squadron and later 720th Special Operations Support Squadron as part of their Operational Support Squadron Medical Flights. He has served as part of Air Force Special Operations Command’s (AFSOC) Special Operations Surgical and Critical Care Transport Teams (SOST/SOCCET). Nott has been a mission commander or assistant mission commander on seven overseas taskings, including three combat zone deployments to Afghanistan, Africa and Europe, to provide medical support. Nott also deployed to Haiti for humanitarian assistance immediately after the 2010 earthquake. His awards include the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal (twice), Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (twice), Humanitarian Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Army Combat Medical Badge. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.
Distinguished Alumni for Outstanding Achievement in the Fine Arts
James Gregory Gross
Gross is a 1972 graduate with a Bachelor of Art in Art Education. His work can be seen in major collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, British Museum, Bibliotheque Nationale and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. He has been featured in Arts Magazine and American Abstract Journals. He has spent more than four decades exhibiting and teaching art. His prints are still featured in permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, the Fogg Museum at Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His art has hung in the U.S. Embassies in Beijing and Vienna. Locally, his works are in the collections at Emprise Bank and the Wichita Art Museum. Gross received an MFA degree in 1981 and was recently honored at Cornell and Georgetown University.
Distinguished Alumni for Outstanding Christian Leadership and Service
David and Mae Kellum
David, a 1957 graduate with a bachelor’s in industrial arts, and Mae, a 1958 graduate with a bachelor’s in home economics, have served as Religious Society of Friends missionaries in Burundi, Africa, for 23 years. Mae was involved in women’s development programs, and David built churches, maintained power plants and fixed missionaries’ cars. David also established the Kwibuka Technical School to prepare students for technical trades. For several terms, he served as the field director of the Burundi Friends Mission. Both David and Mae supported local congregations, mentored pastors and church leaders, and assisted African Friends with their spiritual and material needs. Additionally, David and Mae raised three children in Africa. In 1983, the Kellums came back to the United States where David served as an industrial arts teacher at Berean Academy, and Mae taught ESL classes to refugees in Wichita. In 1999, they returned to Africa for four years to encourage Friends leaders, rebuild churches destroyed by the war and create the Sister Church Program to partner Burundi Friends churches with Friends congregations in the U.S. In 2003, they “retired” and moved to Chandler, Okla., where they have helped establish the Friends of Kibimba Hospital, a ministry that provides medical support, supplies and funding for a Friends hospital in Burundi. They frequently return to central Africa to accompany medical teams and short-term mission trips. They are active in the ministries of Chandler Evangelical Friends Church and Evangelical Friends Church – Mid America.
For more information about the Oct. 5 award ceremony and Friends University Homecoming visit friends.edu/homecoming.
Friends University, a Christian University of Quaker heritage, equips students to honor God and serve others by integrating their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.